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About the Book
Author: Katey Hawthorne
Genre: F/F erotic romance / fantasy
Eugenia was born to privilege in the Ratna clan, nobility famed for their alchemical jewel production. Eugenia’s a talented alchemist herself—but the patriarchy insists her less able brother is the heir to the family secrets and property. As if that weren’t insult enough, an accidentally public tryst with another woman means Genie is shunned by polite society altogether.
Enter the gorgeous Lord Oliver Plumtree, scion of one of the oldest alchemical families in Chrysopoeia and master of the foreboding Waldgrave Abbey. But Lord Oliver is actually Olivia, and on the lookout for a wife—one who requires an escape from the same crushing social mores that have forced Olivia to masquerade as her own long-dead brother to keep her family’s estate intact.
Genie and Liv seem a perfect match from the get-go, and things heat up quickly between them. But before they can carry off their marriage of convenience, Waldgrave Abbey reveals more secrets. Jealous Plumtree relatives and Liv’s association with the Secret Society of Alchemiya, rumored to be a dark and sinister arm of the patriarchy, might just ruin Genie and Liv’s chance at their unlikely happily ever after.
Eugenia slipped the underdress off her shoulders and let it drop around her waist. She looked over her shoulder and smiled.
Olivia licked her lips. “Stop teasing me, will you?”
“Never, if our arrangement works out.”
Liv gave a delighted laugh and beckoned with one finger.
Eugenia dropped her underdress to the floor and shed her drawers quickly. She lifted one leg—more so Liv could admire it than for any practical reason—and dipped her foot into the water. “Oooh, that’s nice.”
“Getting nicer.” Liv smirked and watched as Eugenia stepped in and knelt on the opposite end of the tub. Then Olivia asked, “Do you really think it might work out?”
Eugenia settled her backside comfortably and stretched out her legs on either side of Olivia’s. The warm water reached just under her breasts if she sat up straight, but there was room for both of them to slouch. “What? Oh, our arrangement? I don’t see why not.”
“It’s hard to believe.” Liv considered her for a long moment, then sat up and held out a hand.
Eugenia got to her knees and crawled over until she could settle on Liv’s thighs. She cupped water in both hands and poured it over Liv’s shoulders so it warmed them, trickled down her small, high breasts, and lingered on her pink nipples. “It is a stroke of luck,” Eugenia admitted.
“It’s more than that.” Liv’s breast rose and fell with a deep breath. Her pale eyelashes fluttered, and she looked up at Eugenia through them. “I’m too hopeful, maybe. My life has been a delicate web of lies for so long. My sisters have been the only honest thing in it.”
It wasn’t that Eugenia had never considered as much, precisely. More that the scope of Olivia’s deception was so massive as to overwhelm any attempt at true empathy.
Which was rather the point, wasn’t it? Eugenia had been lonely, yes. She hadn’t been willing to admit it, even to herself, when it seemed that was her lot in life. It was too painful to think she’d never have more than the odd dalliance with another woman, never have a true partner in life and love, and so she simply expunged the possibility from her mind. It did not, after all, exist, so why torture herself with fantasies?
But now that the fantasy might prove reality after all, she could admit it had been hard. Impossibly unfair, even, to be denied that dream. It might not work out between her and Olivia. They might end up fighting or unhappy. But there was a chance now, and that was more than Eugenia had ever dared to dream of.
She was so, so glad she could give that sense of hope to Liv too. Not just the possibility of a partner but the possibility of honesty in that partnership. Eugenia asked, “Until now?”
“So I dare to hope.”
Katey Hawthorne is an avid reader and writer of superpowered and paranormal romance, even though the only degree she holds is in the history of art. (Or, possibly, because the only degree she holds is in the history of art.) Originally from the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, she currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with her family, two cats, and one very large puppy. In her spare time she enjoys travel, comic books, B-movies, loud music, video games, Epiphones, and Bushmills.
Alchemiya Site: http://www.kateyhawthorne.com/p/alchemiya.html